Professor student dating illegal
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Usually the “consequences” are little more than behind-the-back whispers and the occasional passive-aggressive slight.(One of my mentors in grad school once stuck a very prominent scholar—who had just left his wife for a 28-year-old graduate student—in a near-unattended 8 a.m.
Sure, every now and then, a Colin Mc Ginn type does something high-profile enough to cost him his job—but that’s rare.
It’s not just a matter of two consenting adults’ hearts wanting what they want.
Because not only are these relationships almost always an unacceptable abuse of power, they also affect the dynamics of departments, entire fields, and the very act of academic mentorship altogether.
Advisees of the very famous may, indeed, never leave the shadow of their parents’ influence.
Correspondingly, advisees of famous student-seducers—male or female, straight or LGBT, platonically relationshipped or otherwise—can easily be tainted for their entire careers.
conference slot.) Indeed, most of the time, an accomplished senior scholar can get away with almost any poor sexual decision with a student, and still be respected in the field.
Colin Mc Ginn himself is giving a keynote at a high-profile philosophy conference in a few weeks.
Institutional policies that forbid such relationships? Many universities have these already, and they rarely seem to matter.
Off-site visits, such as the one Carla Fehr engineered?
This, in turn, puts an inordinate amount of pressure on those veritable heroes who somehow manage the feat of sleeping with their students.
“It can encourage straight male faculty to favor supervising male students,” explains Eric Wiland, an associate professor of philosophy (and my husband’s colleague) at the University of Missouri–St. This, he explains, is “to avoid problems, rumors, and other foul-ups, sometimes self-inflicted.” He gives the dispiriting example of a female grad student he knows at another school, who now gets “ professional attention, because the male faculty in her department are now scared to socialize with her in the way they socialize with their male students, and in the way they used to socialize with her.” And most upsettingly, Wiland says, “this even extends to semi-social things, like informal workshops and lab meetings.” So what, if anything, can be done?
The question is really, and only, “Is it ethical for teachers to have romantic relationships with students?